I distinctly remember looking out the window and seeing the sign for Joey Tomato’s (Coquitlam location) whenever we drove over to my grandmother’s for a visit. However, I never dropped in and gave it a try until it was renamed JOEY. This time, my family decided on JOEY for dinner to celebrate my older sister’s birthday. From the outside, JOEY looks pretty unassuming. Inside, it’s like the typical dimly lit restaurant; nicely decorated with a lively atmosphere.
As soon as we were seated, our waitress asked if we were celebrating anything special. We told her we were celebrating a birthday and she surprised us all with lemonade slushy in shooter glasses. The lemonade tasted a bit too sour and a little artificial to me so I ended up giving mine away to Baby-Paca to finish, but I appreciate the gesture.
For starters, we ordered the yam fries and ahi tuna tacos to share. For the entree, Mama-Llama, Baby-Paca and I ended up ordering the steak frites, my older sister got the lobster and prawn ravioli while my mom’s boyfriend got a burger (which I did not get the chance to photograph or taste).
Yam fries with truffle lemon aioli ($8.50): The yam fries came sprinkled with grated Grana Padano (a cheese that tasted like parmesan) and were delicious with the aioli that it came with. The slight tang from the lemon made the aioli less heavy than other mayonnaise-based sauces. I love the decadent earthy aroma of truffles. Truffles just makes (almost) everything taste better.
Ahi tuna tacos ($12.50): The seared rare ahi tuna was served on a flat little deep fried tortilla with coleslaw, and a light wasabi aioli. The shell was crisp without being oily or greasy and it was nicely salted. The tuna was complimented well by the coleslaw, which had an acidic ginger dressing. You could tell that the vegetables in the coleslaw were fresh as the sweetness in the cabbage comes through. The only downside is that the aioli didn’t have that kick you’d expect from the wasabi. It only tasted faintly of wasabi, it wasn’t spicy at all. Eating it was also a little messy because the taco shell was piled pretty high with coleslaw and the shell crumbles on you.
Steak frites ($20): The CAB prime sirloin is topped with parsley butter, with a side of rocket greens and fries. My sister and I added blue cheese butter on the side (additional $3 each) as the flavor of the parsey butter is kind of mild and lacked a bit of sodium, we preferred something stronger with more richness. The steak came like we ordered it, medium rare. It was juicy and pink on the inside, but it was still a little chewy. Prime sirloins are known for being the most flavourful cut of meat, but it is also not the most tender cut of meat. The steaks were considerably small (5oz) compared to the steaks we’re used to seeing, but honestly, for $20 it’s still a good deal and the portion on our plates were definitely enough to fill us up. The rocket greens (arugula) were wilted by the balsamic dressing and had a shiny sheen to it that off putted me slightly, but it was tasty without that bitterness that arugula usually comes with. They were also super generous with the fries, which I enjoyed. Some people may prefer them more crispy, but I like the mushy kind of fries (they were kind of like McDonald’s mushy fries but less salty).
Lobster and prawn ravioli ($22): The ravioli pasta is stuffed with lobster and crab meat, topped with grilled prawns, lobster cream sauce and fresh dill. My sister also added an extra wedge of garlic toast ($2.25). I love pasta, but I generally avoid ordering ravioli at restaurants because I don’t like the mushy filling. The grilled prawns were nicely done, but the ravioli would’ve tasted pretty one-note and bland if not for the dill.
Our waitress was friendly and attentive. Mamallama mentioned that her piece of steak was chewy when our waitress came by to ask us how the food was tasting and she apologized and sent it back to the kitchen even though it was already half eaten (Mamallama was originally gonna let it go and just finish her meal). She replaced it with a peppercorn steak that was noticeably juicer and more tender and she had taken it off of our tab altogether. Talk about great service!